Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ominous Knock at the Door for Ploni Almoni

Many ultra-orthodox bloggers in Israel are to be forced offline, according to Yair Ettinger in Haaretz. Kosher computing is quite a struggle. Already a home internet connection for the Ger Hassidics requires a rabbi's approval, so most family PCs are used just for word processing or to play G-rated kosher DVDs--though allegedly never on the Sabbath.

promotional for

Ultra-orthodox online forums are braced for the fallout and most dread the plug being pulled. This Rabbinical decree against home computing will, er, forever Alter the hobbies of Orthodox nerds.(Pairs of Ger elders in fur hats soon will go house to house, knocking on doors to warn against the "spiritual dangers" of cyberspace. Last year, two ultra-orthodox brawlers were named and shamed by an anonymous John Doe, who dubbed himself "Ploni Almoni" on the internet. This post spurred a long drawn-out vendetta against orthodox bloggers after Gerrer Yisrael Ackerman, one of the accused, petitioned the court to force the cyber-slanderer to reveal his identity.

Big communities of Gerrer chasidim, originally from Poland, now are established in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, New York, London and Antwerp. More Israeli communities flourish in Ashdod, Bnei Brak, Arad in the Negev desert, and Hazor in the Galilee, as well as Beit Shemesh and Kiryat Gat. Will their emails cease?

In Modim Ilit, an all ultra-Orthodox community outside Tel Aviv, men who pursue religious studies are increasingly unable to provide for their large families. To fight poverty, which is as dire as for Bedouin families in the area, cyber-savvy wives and daughters have begun to work online from home, earning the entire household budget through outsourced telemarketing, or even tech support. Edicts like the Gerrer crackdown on the internet would lead to their financial ruin.